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MALLORCA
 

Cities in MALLORCA

Ca'n pastilla Ca'n picafort Cala d’or
Cala millor El arenal Magaluf
Palma de mallorca Palma nova Playa de muro
Playa de palma Puerto de alcudia Sa coma
Santa ponsa

Popular destinations SPAIN

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General

Mallorca or Majorca is an island in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea and the largest island of the autonomous Spanish region of the Balearic Islands or Baleares (Spanish: Comunidad Autónoma de las Islas Baleares). The total area of the island is 3625 km2 with a length of approximately 100 kilometers and a maximum width of more than 70 kilometers. The coastline is about 550 km long. Barcelona, located on the east coast of the Spanish mainland, is 248 kilometers from Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Mallorca. Valencia in Spain is 260 kilometer away, Algiers in Algeria 318 kilometer, Marseille in France 530 kilometer en Genoa in Italy at 812 kilometers.

Mallorca Satellite photoPhoto: Public domain

At the end of the Tertiary, about eight million years ago, mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Pyrenees arose and the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza were then raised above sea level. At that time the islands were still attached to the Spanish mainland, but due to the rising of the sea level, the islands of the Balearic Islands, including Mallorca, were created about 12,000 years ago.

Steep rocky coastal formations can be found in the west and on the North Cape (Cap de Formentor). The east and south coast are characterized by the presence of many bays and beaches (calas). Lagoons and swamps, the so-called wetlands, lie around the bays. Mallorca has several dune areas that constantly change shape due to the constant wind and the constant supply of sand, making it seem as if they are constantly on the move.

In the southeast (Sierra de Levante) and northwest (Sierra del Norte; Malloquin: Sierra de Tramontana) parallel mountain ranges run along the coast. In the Tramontana Mountains is also the highest point in Mallorca, the Puig Major, 1445 meters high. Other high peaks are the Teix (1062 m), the Galatzó (1026 m), the Massanella (1340 m) and the Tomir (1102 m).

Puig Major, highest mountain in MallorcaPhoto:Paucabot Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Internationalno changes made

Deep ravines (torrents) run from the mountains to the coast. There are no real rivers on Mallorca, but the beds of these canyons can turn into wild rivers after heavy rainfall. Between the two mountain ranges is a fairly flat, fertile part that becomes more hilly towards the north and is called Es Pla. The hills that lie here do not exceed 350 meters. Limestone is an important rock in Mallorca and causes karst phenomena such as dripstone caves, gorges and depressions in various places, but especially along the east coast. Well-known stalactite caves are the Cuevas del Drac and the Cuevas dels Harms near Porto Cristo. All these phenomena are caused by water seeping down cracks and fractures and then dissolving the lime.

The most famous sandy beach in Mallorca is located on the south coast in the Bay of Palma.

Sunset mallorcaPhoto:Wind Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Mallorca has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Mallorca does not have a real winter and the olive trees are already in bloom in January / February. January is quite cold and there is often a lot of wind. February is the coldest month. Snow occasionally falls in the Tramontana Mountains. In March and April the weather can still be very changeable with a lot of rain and sun.

It can still freeze slightly at night until March, but the temperatures can already reach more than 20°C during the day. The month of May is sunny with daytime temperatures well above 20°C. Due to the high humidity, it can be oppressive weather from June and in the real summer months of July and August.

In the summer months it hardly rains and temperatures can reach over 35°C, especially in the interior. On the coast it is always a bit cooler due to the sea breeze. September and October are ideal holiday months with pleasant temperatures, little rain and a lot of sun. Most rain falls from mid-October to December, with an average of no more than 17°C in December.

Palma de Mallorca receives an average of 480 mm of rainfall per year; in the hills around the monastery of Lluc, rainfall is around 1500 mm annually.

Plants

Olive trees MallorcaPhoto:David Brühlmeier Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Common trees in Mallorca are holm oaks, laurels, crown pines and wild olive trees that can be over a thousand years old. Olives, figs, vegetables, almonds, wheat and flax are grown on the slopes of the hills.

On the fertile inland plain we find lemon, mulberry and orange trees. Dwarf palms are found in the lower areas and a little higher we find myrtle, heather, rosemary and broom. Beautiful flowering plants such as geranium, hibiscus, oleander, lantana and bougainvillea can be found in parks and gardens. And also date palms, ficus and cactus species. The disc cactus in particular can be found everywhere. The aloe, a type of cactus that grows along the coast, is special, just like the tamarind, a tree species with brown-red flowers.

On the steep cliffs and rocks along the coast, only small plants that can withstand the wind and salt keep it out. Examples include poppies, dwarf shrubs, mountain chamomile and samphire. The dunes attract plants that can root deeply for water, such as daffodils, clover and thistles.

Tramontana mountains MallorcaPhoto:H.Zell Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Mallorca used to be covered by extensive holm oak forests. Such forests are now only found in the Levante Mountains and the Tramontana Mountains. Honeysuckles, ferns, gorse and wild cyclamen also grow near these trees.

In the places where the holm oak had disappeared, a kind of vegetation was formed called "garigue". Plants that grow here need little water and can withstand the heat. In addition to Italian arum lilies, gorse, rosemary, rock roses, asters, dwarf palms, carob trees, there are also about 30 types of orchids here.

Animals

The wildlife of Mallorca has always been very limited. Deer, mountain goats and wild sheep are practically extinct. Smaller animals can still be found, including four harmless snake species, geckos and lizards. Known is the green "dragon" or the Lagarija balear, which occurs on smaller islands near Mallorca such as Sa Dragonera, Cabrera, Malgrat and El Toro.

Cormorant on MallorcaPhoto:Danbi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Important birds are eagles, partridges, owls, hawks, pheasants and falcons. Common waterfowl are herons, spoonbills and ibises. Smaller birds include kestrels, crested cormorants, nightingales, song thrushes, coots, sandpipers, godwits, chaffinch, green finches, bee-eaters, ravens, hops, shrike and clod clods. The rare black vulture still occurs in the area of the highest mountain on Mallorca, the Puig Mayor.

Mammal species include rabbits, hares, weasels, dormice, bats and genets.

The sea around Mallorca is populated by mackerels, sardines and many other species. Three species of dolphins occur around the island of Cabrera, including the striped dolphin.

Ca de Bestiar MallorcaPhoto:Deformatorek Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Ca de Bestiar is the large black sheepdog of Mallorca and is also called Perro de Pastor Mallorquin. The breed is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world.

Oldest residents

Talayot MallorcaPhoto:Olaf Tausch Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Already in the third and fourth millennium BC. Mallorca was inhabited by an Iberian shepherd people who lived in caves. What is special is that these people had the Myotragus, an antelope species, as pets. Many other archaeological finds date back to a later period, 1500 to 100 BC, the so-called Talayot culture. The word talayot comes from the Arabic "talaya", which means watchtower. Talayot is also the name for the mostly round towers that were used as a defense tower or lookout post. These stacked stones therefore belong to the megalithic era and often belonged to a settlement. Other structures typical of these cultures are the navetas, an upside-down boat of large stones that was used as a tomb.

Carthaginians and Romans

Old roman bridge which crosses a torrent surrounding Pollensa on MallorcaPhoto:Barry Lewis Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The first inhabitants of the Balearic Islands were the Carthaginians from 645 BC. During the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage from 264 to 146 BC. Mallorca played an important role together with the other islands of the Balearic Islands. Both sides recruited soldiers from the island who were known as excellent slingers.

In 123 BC. the Balearic Islands were conquered by the Romans who absorbed all the islands in the province of Hispania Citerior in the fourth century. For the first time Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera belonged together. The Balearic Islands were an important supplier of wood for the Romans and the soldiers mentioned earlier. In turn, the inhabitants of the islands learned to grow grapes, olives and corn. The Romans also built new cities such as Palma, Pollentia and Manacor and built roads and bridges. The city of Pollentia (now: Alcúdia) was the most powerful city in Mallorca at the time.

In the 4th and 5th centuries, Christianity spread across the islands and the first basilicas were erected. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, mainland Spain was conquered by the Western Goths. The Balearic Islands were sacked and conquered by the Vandals who were driven out again in the 6th century by the Byzantines led by Belisarius.

Moorish rule

Conquest of Mallorca by James I of AragonPhoto:Luis Garcia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the 7th and 8th centuries the islands were constantly attacked by Barbarians and Normans and in the early 8th century the Balearic Islands were already attacked by the Moors. This attack was repulsed with the help of Charlemagne. Some time later, the Moors did manage to conquer the Balearic Islands and this occupation would last about three centuries. Palma was designated as the capital and was named Medina Mayurka.

During the Moorish rule, the economy and culture flourished and the islanders did not suffer much from the Moors. For example, they could continue to practice their religion and Jews and Genoese merchants were allowed to settle freely on the islands. Irrigation channels were also constructed that are still used today. Mallorca was also used as a base for privateers who attacked merchant ships and this generated a lot of money for the island. In 1229 Majorca was conquered by the king of Aragon and Catalonia, Jaume I, and the Moors were expelled as well as Christians converted to Islam. In 1276 he gave the kingdom of Mallorca, which at that time also included Ibiza, Sardinia, Roussillon and Montpellier, to his sons Jaume II and Pedro II.

Pedro II got Valencia, Aragon and Catalonia but wanted more and waged constant wars with Jaume II. This battle lasted for generations and finally the Balearic Islands were conquered in 1343 by Pedro IV of Aragon. At that time, the Balearic Islands were ruled by Jaume III, the son of Sancho I, who had succeeded Jaume II. The independent kingdom came to an end and from that time on the Balearic Islands belonged to the kingdom of Aragon. The Balearic Islands became a province of the great Spanish Empire in 1479, which was created after the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. In the 16th century, trade and shipping fell due to the Turkish expansion and the North African pirates. The discovery of America also caused the economy to decline sharply as the trade moved from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean.

Bourbon and Habsburg

Fernamdo VI os Spain from the house of BoubonPhoto:Public domain

In the early 18th century (1700-1713), the French House of Bourbon and the Austrian House of Habsburg fought for the Spanish throne in the War of the Spanish Succession. The Balearic Islands chose the Habsburgs, who, however, lost the battle to the Bourbons. In 1833 the Balearic province was established and the administration of the Balearic Islands was established in Mallorca. A delegation from this board was in Menorca and Ibiza. From that time it remained fairly quiet on the islands and the prosperity gradually increased as a result of the strongly increasing tourism. In 1983 the Balearic Islands were granted autonomous status with its own government and parliament.

See also the History of Spain on Landenweb.

Folk parade with Giants in Manacor, MallorcaPhoto:Joan Miquel Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Mallorca had approx. 870,000 inhabitants in 2017, about half of whom live in the capital Palma de Mallorca. The other half is divided among 53 other municipalities. Other large cities are Manacor and Inca. About 40,000 people live along the northern bays in municipalities such as Pollença, Muro and Sa Pobla.

The fertile Es Pla plain inland has about 27,000 inhabitants and many agricultural municipalities. In the El Raiguer region, approximately 52,000 people live in municipalities such as Inca, Campanet, Lloseta and the fast-growing commuter town Marratxí.

About 70,000 people live on the east coast in municipalities such as Manacor, Son Servera and Sant Llorenç. The regions of Calviá and Andratx west of Palma de Mallorca are growing the fastest. In the southern coastal area, approximately 35,000 people live in the municipalities of Santanyí, Ses Salines, Campos and Llucmajor.

In the mountain areas, the population is aging rapidly, except in the municipalities close to Palma de Mallorca. These include the municipalities of Sóller, Esporles, Fornalutx, Banyalbufar and Escorca.

Every year Mallorca is overrun by millions of tourists and tens of thousands of seasonal workers from the Spanish mainland, especially from the Andalusia region. In addition, several tens of thousands of Europeans live on Mallorca, mostly because of the beautiful weather. They live here permanently or have a second home.

Map of Spanish DialectsPhoto:Stephen Shaw at the English Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Two languages are spoken and written in Mallorca, Mallorquin, a Catalan dialect, and Castilian Spanish (Castellano). In the thirteenth century, Catalan (Català) supplanted the Arabic of the Moors. After the unification of Spain, the court language, Castilian, became increasingly important and in 1715 declared the official language of all Spain, including the Balearic Islands.

It was not until the nineteenth century that there was more attention for Catalan again and its autonomous status since 1983 has made Catalan an official language again in the Balearic Islands.

A dialect of Catalan, Mallorquin is difficult to understand even for mainland Spaniards, and differs in both pronunciation and vocabulary.

English Castilian Mallorquin

shower ducha dutxa

double room habitación doble habitacio doble

bad baño bany

toilet sink toaleta

key llave clau

bank banco banc

post office la oficina de correos correus

credit card tarjeta de crédito carta de credit

breakfast el desayuno berenar

water el agua aigua

wine vino vi

Cathedral MallorcaPhoto:Dietmar Rabich Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Almost all Majorcans are Roman Catholic, even though secularisation is increasing rapidly. The number of parish clergy, monks and nuns is also declining sharply. Despite this decline, there is still massive participation in the important religious festivals. It is clear that at the moment it is more and more tradition instead of religious belief. During parties and festivals, old customs and traditions come back to life. Many festivals have a religious origin, often with special veneration of Mary.

In the week before Easter, Semana Santa takes place, which is the most important religious festival in Mallorca. Many processions are held all over the island during Holy Week and during Corpus Christi. Every community celebrates the festival of the patron saint with pilgrimages (romeriás), parades and folk festivals (ferias).

State organization

Spanish parliament buildingPhoto:Feramassa55 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Spain's head of state, the "Rey de España", is the King of Spain. The king is inviolable and the responsibilities lie with the prime minister and his cabinet. Nevertheless, the king can exercise great influence through his powers. He ratifies and enacts laws; he convenes the Houses of Parliament, dissolves them and organizes elections and referendums. He is also commander in chief of the armed forces and appoints and dismisses ministers.

The government consists of the Prime Minister or Presidente del Gobierno, possibly vice-presidents and ministers. The Prime Minister can be compared to the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor.

The parliament consists of two chambers: the Congreso de los Diputados with 350 members and the Senate or Senado with 254 members. Each province may delegate two members to the Congreso, except Ceuta and Melilla. The other members are elected per province and the population size is decisive in terms of the number of members that are delegated. For the Senado, the 47 mainland provinces each elect four senators. Mallorca can choose three. The Senate represents the population of the provinces as a whole, regardless of size. This system will be abolished.

parliament building MallorcaPhoto:Maria Rosa Ferre Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Mallorca is an autonomous region, one of the Comunidades Autónomas, with its own government and parliament. Each Autonomia has a varying package of powers that is laid down in an Estatuto de Autonomía. Each Autonomía has a regional parliament (Asamblea Legislativa), a regional government (Consejo de Gobierno), a regional president (Presidente del Consejo) and a regional Supreme Court (Tribunal Superior de Justicia). The regional parliament consists of one chamber from which the regional prime minister is elected.

Spain is divided into 50 provinces, the main provincial body being the Diputacion Provincial, the Provincial Council. It contains between 25 and 51 members or diputados. These are elected by councilors. The diputados again elect a daily board, the Comisíon de Gobierno.

In 1998 there were 8097 municipalities or municipios in Spain. In municipalities between 250 and 100,000 inhabitants, the municipal council or Ayuntamiento has between 5 and 25 members. An Ayuntamiento consists of a mayor or Alcalde, one or more deputy mayors or Tenientes de Alcalde and councilors or Consejales.

There are still many municipalities with fewer than 100 inhabitants. 86% of all municipalities have less than 500 inhabitants. For the current political situation in Spain see chapter history.

Education

University of MallorcaPhoto:Chixoy Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The education system in Spain has changed dramatically since 1990. Primary education already works with the new system. Pre-school and pre-primary education (Jardin de Infancia and Escuela de Párvulos) consists of a three-year and a six-year system that is not compulsory.

Primary education from 6 to 12 years old (Educación Primaria) is compulsory and free. This phase in education consists of three cycles of two years each. This is followed by compulsory secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) from 12 to 16 years old. After this, compulsory education ends. The ESO has two cycles of two years, after which one receives a certificate with which one can, among other things, go to vocational training.

After compulsory education, students can continue studying for the Bachillerato, which gives access to the university.

Secondary vocational education (Formación Profesional Grado Medio) is not much appreciated in Spain. It will take an average of about two years and train directly for professions.

Higher professional education (Formación Profesional Grado Superior) and the university (Universidad) form the final part of the education system. Spain currently has 62 state universities and some twenty private universities. The University of Salamanca dates back to 1218, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.

Mallorca also has a university, the Universitat de les Illes Balears.

Due to the strong rise of mass tourism, the importance of agriculture has decreased proportionally. Less than 10% of the labor force is still employed in the agricultural sector. The farming population is largely active in tourism. Income from agriculture has also declined dramatically, partly because much agricultural land has been taken up by the tourist industry.

Back olives MallorcaPhoto:Rotget Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Until 1840, agriculture was self-sufficient and the focus was on the cultivation of grapes and olives, among other things. Subsequently, agriculture was tackled more commercially and quality improved through new techniques. Not much can grow in the dry and calcareous soil. By growing something different every year, farmers try to keep the soil as fertile as possible. In these areas mainly olive and almond trees grow and various grains are grown. The yields are generally not high, but approximately 70 million kilograms of almonds are harvested annually.

Vegetables, fruit (citrus fruits) and nowadays more and more flowers are grown on irrigated fields. There is also some viticulture for the local market. The best wines are produced around Binisalem, Santa Margarita and Felanitx.

fishing boats mallorcaPhoto:Schnobby Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Fishing and livestock farming are also of some importance (pigs, sheep) and sea salt is extracted along the east coast. Due to the natural vegetation, hardly any livestock farming is possible. Milk and cheese are only produced around Campos del Puerto. The fishery has suffered badly from overfishing, which means that there are practically no more fish in the waters around Mallorca, at least not enough to be exploited profitably. Most fish is imported from the Spanish mainland.

Traditional crafts such as the shoe industry, the furniture industry and the textile industry are still the basis of the industrial activities in Mallorca.

salt production mallorcaPhoto:Kufoleto Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

The salt in Mallorca is extracted using methods already used by the Phoenicians. The salt is exported to Scandinavia and Asia as table salt.

The artificial pearls Majorica that are manufactured in Manacor enjoy world fame. In Inca there are about 25 leather factories. Other products include Majorcan glass, Majorcan furniture and pottery. Colors that are often used for the glass are green, yellow, topaz and cobalt blue.

Overseas trade takes place from the capital Palma de Mallorca. From here the ships sail to the Spanish mainland and to a number of European and African cities.

Palma de Mallorca also has a few metal processing and chemical companies and there are quarries (marble) and phosphate extraction takes place.

Gran Hotel MallorcaPhoto:Pérez Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

At the end of the 19th century, tourists already came to Mallorca. The first hotel, Gran Hotel in Palma de Mallorca, was opened in 1903. In 1935, about 40,000 tourists already came to Mallorca. Before, during and after the war, tourism declined sharply. It was not until the 1950s that Mallorca became more popular again.

In the early 1960s, the number of tourists exceeded a million, partly due to the opening of an airport on Palma de Mallorca. The oil crisis in the 1970s and the economic recession in the 1980s caused tourism to decline again.

At present, millions of tourists come to Mallorca every year, making Mallorca almost entirely dependent on tourism. Tourism is responsible for 80% of the island's income and provides work in construction and the hotel industry. The fact that the economy of the island is very vulnerable due to cyclical fluctuations has already become painfully clear several times.

The disadvantages of mass tourism, including pollution and water scarcity, are also becoming increasingly clear.

Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is the pride of the Majorcan, a city with the largest intact center in Europe and all architectural styles available, such as Gothic cathedrals, Catalan Art Nouveau and avant-garde modern buildings. One of the highlights is La Seu Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches and most important Gothic buildings in Spain. In the beautiful city palace Can Marqués you can see the urban life of the nobility in the 18th and 19th centuries. The renowned Museu Es Baluard, a modern looking museum located in the old city wall and with underground chambers, allows the tourist to enjoy around 300 works of Spanish and European art of the 20th century. The Museau de Mallorca houses about 3000 pieces from prehistory to the Jugendstil that relate to the history of Mallorca. There is also an Islamic art and culture department. Read more on the Palma de Mallorca page of Landenweb.

Magaluf beach, MallorcaPhoto:Hullernuc Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

However, most tourists do not come to Mallorca for the culture, but because of the great beaches. Landenweb has included a large number of seaside resorts on separate pages. These are: Ca'n Pastila, Ca'n Picafort, Cala d'Or, Cala Millor, El Arenal, Magaluf, Palma Nova, Playa de Muro, Playa de Palma, Puerto de Alcudia, Sa Coma, Santa Ponsa.

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Sources

Dominicus, J. / Mallorca
Gottmer

Lee, P. / The rough guide to Majorca
Rough Guides

Nahm, P. / Majorca, Minorca
Baedeker

Rokebrand, R. / Reishandboek Mallorca
Elmar

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb